The Beet caught up with Internet visionary Esther Dyson on the roof of her Manhattan office to talk about the exciting developments surrounding online video.
The balmy spring breeze didn’t warm Esther’s heart to the usefulness of online video for marketers trying to reach busy business people. Despite the buzz surrounding online video with the emergence of YouTube, Google Video and new forms of video blogs, she points out that what video requires upfront from a viewer is time. Why watch a four minute video when you can scan a text for 30 seconds, get the gist of the topic and move on? She acknowledges that there are some types of marketing, towards children for example, where online video works, but she points out that the audience marketers using online video are going to reach are those consumers with the most time to watch.
There are indications that people are making the time to watch – the Beet was reading an April 29th Economist business brief titled "Clip Culture" about YouTube that noted that in December people were watching 3 minutes a day on the site, in April, it’s up to 40 minutes a day. From the article:
"People are spending an average of 15 minutes on the site during each visit, enough to view several short funny clips. This is because they are using YouTube for little breaks during a dull workday. And it is a "lean-forward" experience, as people sit in front of computer screens. This "clip culture" [. . . ] is quite different from the "lean back" experience of enjoying a half-hour show while reclining on the sofa."
Esther’s point remains, however. Are those marketers in business to business going to be reaching the audiences they want to target if they choose to use online video?
Esther has been following the web since the early days: She is known for her influential monthly technological newsletter, Release 1.0, the annual technology industry event PC Forum (now in its 26th year!) and her blog “Where’s Esther?” which analyzes the impact of the Internet and emerging technology on the economy and society. Lately she’s been expanding her world to include aviation and space travel and is organizing a event in June in Florida called Flight School. Her company, which is called Release 1.0, is part of CNET Networks.
(CNET Networks is a client of Plesser Holland, publishers of Beet.TV)